Great tomato sauce is so easy with this simple technique. The recipe may be doubled or halved based on the amount of tomatoes you have. Simply blend larger quantities in batches and choose a pot that accommodates. Freezes well!
It never fails. Every summer I anxiously await the first of the red, ripe tomatoes from our backyard garden. Then just as we’re packing for vacation, the plants begin to bear fruit in earnest.
I thought of this speedy solution a few years ago and have repeated it many times in order to deal with an over-abundance of tomatoes and to provide a tasty and versatile sauce throughout the winter months.
Much of what I freeze throughout the summer gets stored in an extra freezer in our basement. One day towards the end of last winter, my husband noticed that the door had been left ajar. Everything—including five or six containers of this flavorful sauce—had thawed.
Sadly, I had to pitch a lot, but the sauce was cold enough to salvage. I kept what I could use in a week’s time and gave the rest away.
My original intention wasn’t to create a fancy sauce. I just wanted to avoid tomato spoilage and, in the process, create a convenient, flavorful option to basic canned tomato sauce. So I was thrilled when one grateful recipient requested the recipe because her daughter enjoyed eating it as soup!
The very first time I made this, I had already given away a good portion of our tomato bounty in advance of our departure, but I still ended up with six pounds of tomatoes in my pot. The harvest from a few prolific plants can be impressive!
Six pounds of tomatoes cooks down into approximately two quarts of sauce, and I like to freeze the sauce in a variety of container sizes. Having some 8-ounce containers on hand when a recipe calls for a mere cup of sauce is a welcome convenience.
The real beauty of this recipe is that it eliminates the time-consuming, tedious task of peeling and seeding the tomatoes. The blender creates a smooth base that cooks down to a velvety sauce, and no one will notice a single seed or piece of skin. I actually think the skins enhance the flavor.
Because we plant a variety of tomatoes, I use a variety in my sauce. Though plum tomatoes or a mix of varieties work especially well, use what you have, and simply simmer until thick.
If you prefer more oregano, a hint of basil, some black pepper, or even the flavor of bell pepper, add it. It’s hard to go wrong when you start with fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes. And you absolutely don’t have to be going on vacation to justify making this savory shortcut sauce!
UPDATE: I just made a batch using 6 pounds of grape tomatoes. (You should see the monster plant in my garden!) It worked beautifully and the yield was greater–most likely because there is a lower overall water content. I got exactly 2 quarts and 3 cups of sauce from this batch.
Helpful guide if you don’t have a scale:
- One small tomato weighs 3 to 4 ounces.
- One medium tomato weighs 5 to 6 ounces.
- Large tomatoes can weigh 7 ounces or more.
- One pint of grape tomatoes weighs approximately 14 ounces.
Yields approximately 2 quarts (8 cups).
- 6 pounds tomatoes (no need to remove the skin or seeds; see notes)
- 1 yellow onion
- 6-8 garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano (may substitute 2 tablespoons fresh, minced)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
Remove the tomato stems and any bruised areas or white core, and then cut into chunks. Peel the onion and the garlic, and roughly chop.
Place the tomatoes, onion, and garlic in a blender (in batches, if necessary), and blend until smooth. The mixture may remind you of a pink milkshake at this point.
Transfer to a large, heavy-bottomed pot, bring to a simmer, and then reduce the heat to the point where the sauce maintains a slow simmer (uncovered). Stir in the olive oil, salt, oregano, and sugar, and let simmer for 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the sauce has thickened nicely.
Serve immediately or allow to cool thoroughly. Once cool, refrigerate or freeze for later use. When freezing, consider using an assortment of container sizes to match a variety of future recipe needs.
- Any variety of vine-ripened tomatoes will work. I typically use a combination of regular, plum, and cherry tomatoes–and a few yellow when I have them. Total simmering time will vary based on the variety of tomatoes used, as plum tomatoes tend to have less liquid and regular, round varieties are usually more watery.
- If you happen to have a piece of Parmesan rind on hand, add it to the pot. It’s delicious! Leftover Parmesan rind can be stored in the freezer for convenient use in soups and sauces such as this one.
- This recipe may be made without the olive oil, but it does enhance the flavor while providing heart-healthy fats.
- The last time I made this sauce, I used two teaspoons of sugar instead of one to see how that affected the taste. I thought it was a little too much, so I added a teaspoon of white wine vinegar to offset it. My husband was particularly complimentary of that batch and asked if I included meat. You may try this variation if you like, but I stuck with my original recipe above–it has the official family stamp of approval.
Do you think roasting everything together in the oven before cooking will be beneficial in any way? I was thinking it might give a more roast-y or robust taste but wanted to see if you’ve tried it!
Hi Michelle, I have done that with other sauces but not this one. I think it would be wonderful though–and cooking the sauce down will likely take less time because the oven has begun the process. If you try, feel free to report back!
LOVE this sauce!! I had been looking for an easy recipe, especially one which didn’t require peeling the tomatoes! My son is growing loads of tomatoes in his garden and has been asking me to make sauce from those since the sauce I usually make from boxes tomatoes gives him a stomach ache. He even found this recipe for me. So fast and easy to make! And the best part was not only did it taste delicious, but my son had NO stomach aches! Thank you soooo much!
Thank you very much for your comment, Dorothea. I’m delighted your son found this recipe for you and that he has a bumper crop of tomatoes to enjoy. And great news that he didn’t experience his usual stomach upset.
How many grape tomatoes equals 6lbs? Trying to make your sauce recipe. Or how many cups = 6lbs?
Hi Dianne, I figure 10-12 ounces per pint. So, if you go with 11 ounces, it would take a little over 8-1/2 pints (or 17 cups) to equal 6 pounds. This blender sauce recipe is very forgiving, so if you’re a little high or low, you’ll be just fine. If you have further questions, let me know…and hope you enjoy!
Thanks so much. It turned out deliciously yummy.
I’m so glad!
Easy to follow and less time consuming only at steaming and temp control, and maybe certain names like oregano if had substitutes. How long can it remain best?
The sauce will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator and can be frozen. Also, if you don’t have oregano, you could use dried Italian seasoning or stir in some chopped fresh basil at the end.
Novice first time vegi patch in Ocean Grove AUSTRALIA. It’s summer here and I had a super successful tomato crop. Just tried your recipe – worked brilliantly I am going to freeze mine in batches as I am not ready to learn canning. Thanks for the easy tips. Cheers Helen P.
Cheers to you, Helen, from snowy Pennsylvania! I’m delighted your garden is rewarding you and that this recipe was a success. Freezing is a wonderful way to preserve the sauce, and I hope you end up with many batches to enjoy by the time your winter rolls around!
i use an imulsion blender or as emeril calls boat motor to blend whole tomatoes into sauce EASY
An immersion blender is a great option, Allen, and I love the boat motor comparison!
I love this recipe. Of course I have made adjustments for different flavors, but you gave me the confidence to blend my garden tomatoes with the skins on, and turn pink froth into deep red delicous goodness. Thank you!
Haha! I love your comment and that you could be confident in the face of pink froth. So happy this served you well!
This is genius! We love so easy plus I have water bath canned it. We have put up 21 quarts! So happy I found this, thank u for sharing!
Lisa, You are amazing! Enjoy every one of those 21 quarts! That is a truly impressive effort, and I’m thrilled you were happy with the sauce.
Do you add the EVOO when canning? I want to can them not freeze them.
The oil would be fine. In general, the pH of tomatoes is borderline for canning in a water bath (as compared with high pressure canning), so adding a squeeze of lemon juice is helpful.
This is a keeper, thank you! I have so many cherry and grape tomatoes in my garden right now, and was looking for a way to store them without having to run it all through a sieve. This worked perfectly, and I do agree that the skins add their own great depth of flavour to the sauce.
I’m delighted this provided an easy way to enjoy an abundance of tomatoes, Gale － and that you agree about the skins!
Love this recipe!! I have so much basil in my garden. Could I add some?
Thank you, Josie, and you can definitely add basil. For freshest flavor, I’d stir it in towards the end of the cooking time.
Can it be canned
Hi Carolyn, Given their pH level, high pressure canning is often recommended for tomatoes. If you’d like to use the hot water bath method, a spoonful of lemon juice would ensure a lower pH (more acidic), which makes the latter method safer. When using, you may then wish to add a small amount of sugar to balance the lemon and make the flavors shine.
Yes! I am sure I used this recipe in my most requested sauce that I could or remember.
Can this recipe be canned, to save on freezer space?
Hi James, Because of their pH level, it’s usually recommended that tomatoes be canned with the high pressure method rather than a water bath. Oftentimes, people will add some lemon juice to tomatoes or tomato sauce to lower the pH so the water bath method may be used. That’s also why people sometimes add sugar to their sauce, as it can be needed to balance the added acid. So the answer is yes, with a few conditions to do it safely. I hope that helps!
Can this sauce be made with thawed frozen tomatoes. I was given a ton of tomatoes, I washed and froze them whole. I make my own spaghetti sauce but have never used fresh tomatoes. When I was given all the tomatoes I found out how to freeze them. This sauce and marinara recipe looks delicious. I’d like to try them.
Hi Tammy, This sauce would be a great way to use and enjoy those tomatoes, as you can cook off all the moisture (and freezing often makes the tomatoes more watery). Just cook them down until your desired thickness is achieved…and enjoy!
Thank you! Trying it now, looking good so far!
This is awesome! We were trying to get rid of the seeds by using a ricer or cheesecloth – both epic fails! We were loosing too much of the meat of the tomatoes. Found this recipe and decided to use our nutribullet. Worked great and what a time-saver. Thanks.
Fabulous! So glad this was decidedly NOT another fail. Thanks for the great feedback.